Four Ways To Use MS Office On IPad. Is your iPad loaded with apps, but lacking basic Microsoft Office functionality? While you can easily fetch your email messages, pay bills, and do virtually anything else on the iPad, official Microsoft Office apps are few and far between. Before you get frustrated by the lack of an official MS Word or Excel app for the iPad, take a look at the following four ways to use MS Office on your iPad.
The Microsoft Way
Microsoft released an official Office app, Microsoft Office Mobile, in June 2013. However, it’s for iPhones only – and, while the app itself is free, it requires a $99 subscription to Office 365 in order to use the app. If you’re a current subscriber and can live with using the iPhone version on your iPad, this may be an option albeit an imperfect one.
Microsoft has released a standalone OneNote app and a Lync app. Both are available on iTunes. If you’re looking for a Word or Excel app that doesn’t require Office 365, you’re out of luck.
The Apple Way
Clearly, the Microsoft way leaves something to be desired unless you’re an existing Office 365 subscriber. Fortunately, the Apple way isn’t likely to leave a bad taste in your mouth (other than the price tag, that is). Apple’s Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps are capable apps compatible with Microsoft Office’s file formats. Use Pages to create and edit Word documents; use Keynote to create and edit PowerPoint slideshows; and use Numbers to create and edit spreadsheets. About that price tag, it’s not that bad. Each of these apps is $9.99. For less than $30, you can create your own suite of MS Office-compatible productivity apps.
The Google Way
Apple and Microsoft have a new rival to contend with: Google. Google recently acquired Quickoffice which is a robust Microsoft Office-compatible app. The QuickOffice Pro app sells for $14.99 to the general public. Another version of Quickoffice is available for free exclusively to Google Apps for Business users. In both cases, this app allows you to create, view, and edit MS Office files including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations.
The Third Party Way
If MS Office apps by the big three don’t appeal to you, there are other options available by third party developers. For example, TouchDocs is an app based on Google Drive and Google Docs. It allows you to open, view, and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations stored in your Google Drive. Other third party apps that offer Office-compatibility include: Documents Unlimited for iPad ($4.99), AlwaysOnPC Open Office Editor ($24.99 this is a virtual desktop with OpenOffice and LibreOffice), and Office Plus (a free iPad app, but it requires in-app purchases if you want to save your documents).
To get most out of Microsoft Office products, your best bet is to take an online computer training course. As you can see, it is possible to use Microsoft Office on your iPad. In fact, you have plenty of options. In a perfect world, Microsoft would issue glorious companion apps for each MS Office product you use without requiring a yearly subscription. While you can download the OneNote app or take advantage of the new Microsoft Office Mobile if you’re a current Office 365 subscriber, it may make more sense to approach MS Office the Apple, Google, or third party way.
Holly Adams is a freelance writer. She writes about technology and business software applications.